Once again our former ways reassert themselves, like repeating patterns in a faded Escher print.

Once again we fall victim to old habits we thought we'd laid to rest.

The reptile mind, that serpent hiding in the brainstem, springs to life and wraps its coils around us. It slips past the higher mind, where reason blossoms like the flowers in her hair. It pulls us by the throat back into the old, familiar dance.

It's an ancient story, older even than the Maya who understood time's repeating flow. Here the images of their great leaders gaze upon her as she battles demons from her past.

Curl Nose. Night Sky. Heavenly Standard Bearer.
Curl Head. Shield Skull. Fire-born/Smoking Frog.
Protect her.
Woman of Tikal. Jaguar Claw II. Yellow Peccary. Yax Ch'actel Xox.
Defend her from herself.

Sometimes we feel powerless. Bound. We try to cry out but no one hears us through our lips sewn shut by shame or pride. Or if we do reach out for help, we find our hands refuse to move.

They just lie there in our laps. For all the good they do us they might as well be cut off, lying limp beside us in our chair. Still we struggle on. Until the day we die.

And like the hidden messages concealed within the scattered lines around her, we try to to tell the person we were then, "You're already dead. You're already dead." We say it twice, but still she will not listen.

She whispers in our ear, "How can it feel this wrong?" She knows we want it more than we admit. And though we fight - and some days even seem to win - she is always coiled inside us.

Waiting just below the surface. We may drive her back into the darkness for a time. She just smiles and whispers, "But I know we'll meet again some sunny day."